Scanning Performance of Air Bearing Equipped Precision Motion Systems

Scanning is a common technique in applications ranging from high-resolution microscopy to industrial material processing. Scanning involves moving either a workpiece or an optic at a constant velocity while a reading or writing operation takes place. Air bearings are used for both purposes, especially when high precision and reliability are vital. While the physical act of writing an image or capturing an image differ by application and industry, all such applications share a common requirement — maintaining a constant velocity.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Imaging and visualization, Automation, Bearings, Reliability
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Four Ways to improve Production by Understanding the Physics of Servos

There is always a need to increase production in automation applications. Sometimes achieving improvements requires breaking the process down to its fundamental basics. The science behind the technology of servo-based motion control systems should be considered when attempting to eliminate inefficiencies. Four fundamentals to examine are inertia, resonance, vibration suppression, and regeneration.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Finite element analysis, Electronic control systems, Automation, Productivity
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Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators

Hydraulics are rugged and deliver a low cost per unit of force, but electric rod actuators have attained higher force capacities while becoming more flexible, precise, and reliable.

Advances in motion control technology have prompted a new debate — do hydraulic cylinders or electric linear actuators offer the best solution for a linear motion application? Hydraulic cylinders provide high force at an affordable cost. Hydraulics are rugged, relatively simple to deploy, and deliver a low cost per unit of force. However, electric rod actuators (electric cylinders), particularly those with roller screws, have attained increasingly higher force capacities while becoming more flexible, precise, and reliable.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Electrical systems, Flight control actuators, Hydraulic control, Reliability
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High-Power Fiber Lasers

New Applications Are Being Enabled by Dramatic Advances in Design and Performance

High-power (multi-kW) fiber lasers are revolutionizing industrial materials processing markets by offering an unmatched combination of performance, reliability, and cost advantages. For example, in sheet metal cutting (the largest application, with more than $1B/year of laser sales), fiber lasers provide the highest cutting speed (especially for thin sheets, the dominant application), scalability to thick sheets (>1”), and the ability to process a wide range of metals with a single tool. Along with low power consumption and high reliability, these capabilities result in the lowest cost per part. Fiber lasers have thus been the fastest-growing segment of the laser market for the past decade.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Fiber optics, Lasers, Cutting, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Reliability
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Finding the Right Chip-on-Tip Camera Technology

You have a great idea that could potentially revolutionize your industry: a new surgical technique, diagnostic solution, or inspection system. You already know getting there will require the latest video imaging technology from an incredibly small, sub-millimeter, package; in other words, a distal chip-on-tip (COT) video camera. The COT needs to integrate into an elegantly designed, flexible device and allow video imaging into anatomy that was previously inaccessible, or image into the tiny dark crevices of our mechanized world. The technology has to be inexpensive, yet video performance needs to be competitive with larger sensor video products with which the market is already familiar. (Figure 1). So, where do you start to identify appropriate video technologies and vendors?

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Integrated circuits, Optics, Product development, Supplier assessment
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Thermal Imaging: How Does It Work?

By detecting very subtle temperature differences of everything in view, infrared technology reveals what otherwise would be invisible to the naked eye.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Heat transfer, Visibility
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Six Questions About Today's Camera Market

Although camera components like CCD and infrared sensors have reached a level of maturity, imaging features continue to evolve. Analysts from the San Francisco, CA-based business consulting firm Grand View Research spoke with P&IT about current camera technology's most exciting capabilities, applications, and leaders.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Product development, Technical review
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Infrared Cameras Support Advanced 3D Printing Efforts

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is quite literally one of the most innovative technologies revolutionizing manufacturing today, in terms of both industry “buzz” and thermal properties. Unlike subtractive manufacturing methods such as machining, the growing range of AM technologies creates components directly from a computer model, adding material only where needed. Wohlers Associates, a leading independent consulting firm focused on these technologies, is forecasting that the value of the worldwide AM market will grow to more than $10.8 billion by 2021, up from just $2.2 billion in 2012. That rapid escalation, however, isn't the result of hobbyists buying desktop 3D printers that cost a few hundred dollars.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Optics, Market research, Technical review, Additive manufacturing
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CERTIFICATES AND SIGNATURES: How to Ensure Authentication in the IoT

On October 21, 2016, the Internet saw a significant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, conducted via a botnet comprising many co-opted Internet-connected devices. The attackers of the network infrastructure were able to control these Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices for a number of reasons, including a lack of strong authentication. Loaded software turned the machines into puppets that interfered with Internet traffic for millions of users.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Cryptography, Cyber security, Internet of things
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Researchers Turn iPhone Camera into Optical Sensor

By integrating an optical Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, or MEMS, chip into an iPhone camera, researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a new, cost-effective kind of hyperspectral technology. The spectral device will provide mobile device users and consumers with new ways to monitor their environments, including quick food analysis, health checks, and other Internet-connected sensing. Research team leader Anna Rissanen works actively with companies to enable commercialization and new business development based on the team's various sensors.

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Sensors, Microelectromechanical devices, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Research and development
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